Football Roars Past USC in Relocated Contest
Director of Digital Media
BATON ROUGE -- LSU running back Leonard Fournette became the fastest player in Southeastern Conference history to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards in a single season, as he and quarterback Brandon Harris led the Tigers past South Carolina, 45-24, on Saturday afternoon in Tiger Stadium.
LSU (5-0, 3-0 SEC) amassed its third-highest total offense against an SEC opponent (since 1960) - 624 yards - including 396 rushing and 228 passing.
Fournette had 20 carries for 158 yards including an 87-yard touchdown that put the sophomore back over 1,000 yards for the season and over 2,000 yards in the 18th game of his career. His season totals is 1,022 yards on 119 attempts with 12 touchdowns, while he moved into a tie with Domanick Davis for 13th on LSU's all-time rushing list with 2,056 yards.
With Fournette watching from the sideline for the final 24 minutes of the game, freshman running back Derrius Guice earned 16 carries for a team-high 161 yards including a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Guice and Fournette became the second duo in LSU football history to both have at least 150 yards in a game. The other was Kevin Faulk and Rondell Mealey against Houston on Sept. 7, 1996.
Harris, also a sophomore, had a career game under center for LSU. He set personal bests for completions, attempts and yards, as he was 18-for-28 passing for 227 yards with two touchdowns. His 62-yard touchdown pass to Travin Dural was also a career-long.
Dural led all receivers with 109 yards on four catches, while Malachi Dupre added a career-high six catches for 74 yards with a 10-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.
LSU outgained South Carolina, 624-283, and possessed the ball for 39:53. The Tigers ran 83 games to the Gamecocks' 50.
The Tigers return to action next Saturday when Florida comes to Tiger Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT on ESPN.
South Carolina (2-4, 0-4 SEC) was led by quarterback Perry Orth who was 14-of-28 passing for 200 yards with two third-quarter touchdown passes. He was intercepted once. Running backs Shon Carson (26 yards) and David Williams (25) led the Gamecocks in rushing.
On Wednesday morning, today's game was moved 738 miles from Columbia, S.C., to Baton Rouge due to the aftermath of flooding in The Palmetto State. It was originally scheduled to kickoff at noon ET at Williams-Brice Stadium and instead started at 2:30 p.m. CT.
LSU flew the South Carolina state flag in the north endzone, the Golden Band from Tigerland played the Gamecocks' alma mater before and after the contest, and all Tigers fans paid respect to the tragic flooding and loss of life that occurred last weekend.
Paid attendance for the unscheduled "home" contest for LSU was 42,058.
The Tigers wore a unique uniform combination for the first time in the modern era: its traditional purple jersey with white pants and white helmets.
LSU, the designated visiting team, called and won the coin toss. The Tigers deferred its decision until the second half and kicked off out of bounds to open the game.
Starting at its 35, South Carolina caught LSU in a blitz on third-and-11 from its 45 and Orth completed a 42-yard pass to Cooper to the LSU 13. On third-and-11 at the LSU 14, Orth scrambled to the first-down marker to setup first-and-goal at the 3. However, three-straight incomplete passes by Orth led to a defensive stop for the Tigers.
USC got on the scoreboard first with a 21-yard field goal by Elliott Fry with 11:02 remaining in the first quarter. It marked the first time in 2015 that LSU trailed in a game.
LSU answered on its first offensive drive, traversing 75 yards in 13 plays to take a 7-3 lead following a Darrel Williams 4-yard touchdown run and a PAT by Trent Domingue. A 17-yard catch by Dural on third-and-8 and a bootleg on third-and-3 by Harris kept the drive going. Fournette's 11-yard run to the USC 4 setup Williams' dive up the middle for the score.
LSU led 7-3 with 5:15 remaining in the opening quarter.
After gaining a first down to the LSU 36, USC coach Steve Spurrier elected to gamble on fourth-and-2 from his 44. Orth's pass to the right was high of his target and LSU took over.
With the short field ahead, Williams converted a fourth-down with two yards up the middle to the 32 for the Tigers. A negative run by Fournette and a pair of short incomplete passes led to Jamie Keehn's first punt.
The Tigers defense forced a three-and-out, and LSU took over at its 33 following a 40-yard punt.
Fournette began the drive with a pair of first-down runs to the USC 46 and Harris added another by running 14 yards to the 27. On the following play, Harris again used his feet to gain two yards, and 15 more were added when his helmet was ripped off by South Carolina's Jordan Diggs. On second-and-8 at the 10, Harris launched a perfect pass to Dupre in the left corner of the endzone for a touchdown.
With 7:41 to play in the half, LSU led 14-3.
On the ensuing kickoff, South Carolina freshman Rashad Fenton raced 96 yards along the left sideline to quickly answer the Tigers' score.
With 7:27 remaining in the half, the Gamecocks cut the deficit back to four, 14-10. The kickoff return touchdown was the first in Tiger Stadium since Oct. 9, 1999.
After starting with a 20-yard pass from Harris to Dupre and a first-down run by Fournette, an illegal block stalled the Tigers' drive in South Carolina territory. Keehn's punch bounced just into the endzone and the Gamecocks took over at their 20.
With 79 seconds left in the half, Harris led a 10-play drive that ended with a 29-yard field goal by Domingue as time expired. A 15-yard run by Fournette and a 28-yard catch by Dupre put the Tigers in position to lead 17-10 at halftime.
After gaining 49 net yards on 15 carries in the first half, Fournette wasted no time in gear in the second half. His 87-yard touchdown run on the second play of the third quarter made the sophomore the fastest Tiger to 1,000 yards in a single season and to 2,000 yards in his career.
LSU led 24-10 with 14:01 remaining in the third quarter.
The big play sparked the Tigers defense, which forced a punt after three plays including a stop by linebacker Deion Jones on third-and-11.
With two runs netting 15 yards, Fournette helped LSU overcome an illegal shift that negated a 16-yard catch by Trey Quinn. Facing second-and-18 at the LSU 33, Guice tore off 17 yards to midfield and Williams picked up the first down with a short run. Two plays after a 12-yard sack of Harris, the sophomore quarterback hit Dural in stride - with an assist by tight end DeSean Smith, who tipped the pass - for a 62-yard touchdown.
LSU led 31-10 with 6:29 remaining in the quarter.
South Carolina answered with a quick strike, using only 81 seconds to reach the endzone. Orth completed a 22-yard pass to Jeffrey to the LSU 38. Later, Orth found Jerell Adams streaking across the middle of the field for a 36-yard touchdown. The Gamecocks trailed 31-17 with 5:02 left in the quarter.
However, the Gamecocks couldn't slow the Tigers' rushing attack. Guice ran three-straight times for 39 yards to the South Carolina 36 before Williams entered to score a 1-yard touchdown on the last of three-straight runs that totaled 36 yards.
The touchdown put LSU ahead 38-17 with 1:55 left in the quarter.
A second quick strike by South Carolina ended with a 43-yard touchdown reception by Cooper, pulling the Gamecocks within two touchdowns, 38-24, with 39 seconds left in the quarter.
South Carolina then recovered an onside kick, but it was forced to re-kick when the Gamecocks were flagged for offsides.
Harris led the Tigers to a final score on the opening drive of the fourth quarter. A 20 yard run by Guice and a 27-yard catch by Dupre setup a 4-yard touchdown by Guice with 13:15 to play.
Leonard Fournette: reaches 1,000 rush yards in 5th game; is 10th player in FBS history to rush for 1,000 yards in season’s first 5 games— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 10, 2015
@bberri1 Top 5: 2006 Wolfe NIU 1,181 1981 Allen USC 1,136 1996 Hanspard TTU 1,112 1998 Williams TEX 1,086 1996 Davis ISU 1,047— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 10, 2015